He survived for 16 months, in spite of many insects, tropical heat, and alligators. In the beginning, he seems to have eaten only fruits, because he only had his hands to collect food; he could not kill any animal. He had no equipment at all until he met another castaway, an Englishman. The Englishman disappeared after a few days, but he left behind a knife, gunpowder, tobacco, and more. Ashton could now kill tortoises and crayfish and make fires to have hot meals. Ashton was rescued by the Diamond, a ship from Salem, New England.